HOUSTON – Locomotive lovers, the season of lights, holiday shopping and caroling is almost upon us. Here are some upcoming yuletide train adventures to prepare for.
On view Nov. 20 through Jan. 3, the Houston Museum of Natural Science’s annual spectacle in miniature features a detailed, tennis-court-size approximation of the Lone Star State packed with replicas of some of Texas' most iconic landmarks, including Enchanted Rock and Pedernales Falls. From Big Bend all the way to downtown Houston’s “Be Someone” sign, model trains zoom around the display, passing through oil country salt domes, prairies and the wetlands of the Texas coast. Along with an overview of the state’s rail history, the exhibit offers visitors a one-of-a-kind look at Texas' geology. Fun fact: Unsurprisingly, the exhibit is the largest indoor O-scale model railroad in Texas.
When: 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily Nov. 20 through Jan. 2
Where: Houston Museum of Natural Science, 5555 Hermann Park Drive, Houston
Details: $15-$25, “Trains Over Texas” included in price of general admission; (713) 639-4629, hmns.org
The Christmas Train chugs into Alvin Nov. 27, beginning another run of the popular holiday attraction. On this yuletide train, passengers will enjoy an eight-to 12-minute ride through a winter wonderland (a.k.a., Camp Victory) decorated with over 300,000 lights and hundreds of Christmas decorations including a gingerbread village display, penguin snow lands, and life-size storybook illustrations.
When: 6 p.m.- 9 p.m., Nov. 26-27, Dec. 3-4, 19-11 and 16-23
Where: Victory Camp, 1407 Victory Lane, Alvin
Details: $10-12; (281) 388-2267, thechristmastrain.com
At select times through the end of December, railway enthusiasts can indulge in some yuletide train fun at the Galveston Railroad Museum’s annual Polar Express holiday event. First, swing by the museums at gander at dozens of trains decked out in holiday decorations and lights then hop aboard the event’s titular Polar Express for a 1-hour trip to meet Santa.
When: Select times through late December
Where: The Galveston Railroad Museum, 2602 Santa Fe Place, Galveston
Details: (409) 765-5700, galvestonrrmuseum.org
The Old Time Christmas Tree Farm out of Spring offers some festive locomotive fun. Here you can hop aboard a miniature train and enjoy a ride through the Christmas tree fields.
When: 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m., Nov. 20 through late December
Where: Old time Christmas Tree Farm, 7632 Spring Cypress Road, Spring
Details: $3; (281) 370-9141, oldtimechristmastree.com
On any given day, here you can get a glimpse of Historic Rosenberg in miniature, explore a Missouri Pacific caboose, walk through a 19th-century rail car and more at this railroad museum. But come Saturday Dec. 18, you can also snag breakfast and snap some pics with Santa at the museum’s Breakfast With Santa event.
When: 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Nov. 28
Where: Rosenberg Railroad Museum, 1921 Avenue F, Rosenberg
Details: $15-20; (281) 633-2846, rosenbergrrmuseum.org
Deck the Depot is one of the City of Tomball’s annual Christmas events. Held at the historic Depot Museum, the event will offer family-friendly games and entertainment. Oh, and the big man in red is scheduled to make an appearance.
When: 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Dec. 4
Where: 210 South Elm, Tomball
Details: Admission and parking are free
Searching for more family-friendly activities in and around Houston? Visit our Things To Do page.